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Montaspis gilvomaculata BOURQUIN, 1991

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Higher TaxaLamprophiidae, incertae sedis, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Cream-spotted Mountain Snake 
SynonymMontaspis gilvomaculata BOURQUIN 1991
Montaspis gilvomaculata — BRANCH 1993: 26
Montaspis gilvomaculata — WALLACH et al. 2014: 457 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (Natal Drakensberg), Lesotho?
elevation 1870-2860 m

Type locality: "Organ Pipes Pass, near the 'The Camel', Cathedral Peak Forest Reserve, Natal, South Africa, 28˚ 00'35" S, 29˚11'11" E; at ca. 2860 m above sea level."  
TypesHolotype: DNMNH (= TM = TMP) 68088, a 395-412 mm female (D. Tomlinson, Jan. 1980). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus). Fifteen subequal maxillary teeth followed, after a diastema, by two large grooved teeth; 25 mandibular teeth, subequal except for first three smaller leeth. Head only slighlly disllnct from neck; eye of moderate size, pupil round. Body robust, short and cylindrical dorsal scales smooth, without apical pits, in 21 rows at midbody. Tall of moderate lenglh, tapering. Nostril in single nasal. Anal shield divided. Subcaudals in two rows. Recurved hypaphophyses developed on all body vertebrae (Bourquin 1991). 
CommentType species: Montaspis gilvomaculata BOURQUIN 1991 is the type species of the genus Montaspis BOURQUIN 1991.

Known from 4 specimens only (Bourquin 1991 and Branch et al. 1993, O. Bourquin, pers. comm., 23 Aug 2020).

Abundance: Rare. This is one of the species called 'lost' and 'rediscovered' by Lindken et al. 2024. 
EtymologyThe species name is from Latin gilvo, gilvus = pale yellow, and maculata = spotter or blotched.

The genus name is from Latin mons, montis = mountain, and Greek aspis = snake. Gender is feminine. 
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Bourquin, O. 1991. A new genus and species of snake from the Natal Drakensberg, South Africa. Annals Transvaal Mus. 35 (12) 1991: 199-203 - get paper here
  • Branch W R; Haagner G V; Bourquin, O. 1993. Further specimens of the cream-spotted mountain snake Montaspis gilvomaculata from Natal. Lammergeyer 42: 50-52
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Lambiris, A.J.L. 1997. Description of the hemipenis of Montaspis gilvomaculata Bourquin, 1991 (Serpentes, Colubridae). Annals of the Natal Museum 38: 1-
  • Lindken T.; Anderson, C. V., Ariano-Sánchez, D., Barki, G., Biggs, C., Bowles, P., Chaitanya, R., Cronin, D. T., Jähnig, S. C., Jeschke, J. M., Kennerley, R. J., Lacher, T. E. Jr., Luedtke, J. A., Liu, C., Long, B., Mallon, D., Martin, G. M., Meiri, 2024. What factors influence the rediscovery of lost tetrapod species? Global Change Biology, 30: 1-18 - get paper here
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
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